College of Arts and Sciences


The Winston-Salem State University Choir is one of the oldest student organizations on the campus. There is evidence to prove that the institution of the choir predates the Department of Fine Arts/ Music, of which it is now a part. In the illustrious past of the choir, names such as Noah Ryder appear as one of the founding fathers of both the choir and the Department of Music. After Noah Ryder, famous composer and conductor, the choir was led by Dr. James A. Dillard. Other composers/conductors that have continued the unforgettable traditions of the choir have been Dr. Roland Allison, Dr. Permilla Dunston, Dr. Robert Morris, and Dr. James B. Kinchen, Jr.

The University Choir is now under the leadership of D'Walla Simmons Burke. This ensemble has performed commissioned works, such as On Imagination and I Too by Undine Smith Moore, Recent Reflections on Deep River by Michael Williams and Come Sunday arranged by S. Van Dixon. The choir also sings with the Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestra and the Gateways Festival Orchestra when major works are programmed. The choir received a $1,000.00 cash award and trophy from the American Negro Spiritual Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1991 under the baton of Mrs. Burke.

In 1993, the choir was invited by the National Black Music Caucus in Nashville, Tennessee, to perform as one of the conference's featured groups. In 1997, The Winston-Salem State University Choir was one of the only university choirs from North Carolina's sixteen (16) state institutions invited to perform during the festivities of the inauguration of Governor James B. Hunt. This choir is often known for its moving renditions of Negro Spirituals and South-African arrangements and is well sought after in neighboring states and within the state of North Carolina.

Winston-Salem State University

601 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Winston-Salem, NC 27110

Phone: (336) 750-2000

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